One of the Most Unique Covers We’ve Produced
When the design team was about finished with the Bohen-Ensminger Family Heritage, Tom called the client to discuss the cover. Joni’s only real requirement was “a black or dark brown with simple stamping that befitted their Mennonite heritage”.
After working on a couple of ideas, Tom excitedly called Joni back. “I’ve got an idea for the cover, and I’ve never done it before... I don’t even know if it will work.” He described the text foil-stamped and two vingetted photos either stamped in white or blind debossed into the cover. Joni was intrigued and we emailed her a computer-generated mock-up cover (the one to the right).
Most foil stamping is line art: text or designs composed of solid elements, not gradients or photographs. Tom worked with the bindery manager to create an effect that worked. Together they tried six or eight different methods including double-hits, multiple foils, long dwells, fast strikes. In the end, they settled on a black foil that presented a slightly different reflectivity than the cover’s black buckram. Tom shot a photo with his iPhone and emailed it to Joni: “The effect is very holographic in a 1870’s kind of way. Guaranteed to get people to pick it up and look at it.”
The next day Joni replied to Tom's email from the bindery: “I sent the cover pic and your notes to my aunt & uncle (they are in their mid 80s) as a sneak peak. She had to call me right away and let me know how excited and thrilled she was.”
Jan, Tom’s oldest daughter, was the main designer on this project. When she got home she had a couple of friends with her. Tom handed her a copy of the book and all three of them couldn’t stop looking at it. Each one would rotate and tilt the book, catching the light to view the stamped photos.
We received the following email from Joni:
Tom, I got the shipment today and the book is just beyond words to see it in person. I am so thrilled with it. The calls from family members have already started to come in. They said they can’t put it down either! It is definitely what I had hoped for. The overall look is just perfect. Thanks so much again.
Before Tom left the bindery he caught the bindery production supervisor marveling at the book. “What are you doing?” Tom asked. “You’re surrounded by books all day long.”
“This one is different!” he replied. Joni’s book caught the eye of someone who spends his day handling books... and he had nothing to say about the other three titles we had in bindery.
When the team post-mortemed the project, Tom remarked, “Yeah, it’s just a little black book. The foil stamping turned out nothing like I had envisioned, and I'm glad I arrived at the bindery while they were still in production.” As the bindery general manager said, there are two kinds of people who make books: scientific and artistic... and then there is you, Tom.
Book design is our day job... but most of us still sneak a moment and flip the book in different light to marvel at the 1870’s hologram we created in 2011.
Bohen-Ensminger Family Heritage
Services provided by Creative Continuum
- library edition hardback
- Published in 2011
- 112 pages
- ISBN 978-0-9844332-7-8
- Initial run of 50 copies published in December, 2011
- Page design and layout
- Adjusted client-scanned photos
- Pedigree chart design
- Unique cover design with halftoned image stamping
- Stamped photos on the cover appear like holograms
- Design by Janalyn Underhill
Book cover preproduction concept
Photograph of the cover showing stamping detail